The new boss made wholesale changes to his starting line-up, with a new-look back four in Joe Mattock, Richard Wood, Dael Fry and Darnell Fisher.
The Millers came close to an early goal on two minutes, Joe Newell curling an effort which had Ali Al-Habsi at full stretch to tip wide.
With Jackett patrolling the touchline, Rotherham were looking to impress the new man in charge.
Jon Taylor cut inside, only for Al-Habsi to turn the ball away for a corner.
And from the resulting cross, Greg Halford - playing in the centre of midfield alongside Lee Frecklington - saw his header scrambled away.
The long throw of Halford was causing Reading problems, and from one such missile, Richard Wood saw his header palmed away by Al-Habsi, a stunning save.
And the visiting goalkeeper also rescued his side, one-on-one with Danny Ward, when he rushed out and blocked the shot.
It was then the turn for Millers goalkeeper Lee Camp to rescue his side, after Joey Van den Berg was brought down in the box.
Garath McCleary stepped up to take the penalty, but Camp guessed right and produced a huge cheer at the NYS.
John Swift thundered an effort against the crossbar, while at the other end substitute Izzy Brown had his penalty appeal waved away after tumbling in the box.
Rotherham: Camp, Mattock, Wood, Frecklington, Ward, Taylor, Halford, Fisher, Fry, Blackstock, Newell. Subs: Price, Vaulks, Forde, Forster-Caskey, Ball, Belaid, Brown.
Reading: Al-Habsi, Gunter, Van den Berg, Beerens, Swift, Obita, McCleary, Moore, Kermorgant, Williams, Kelly. Subs: Moore, McShane, Evans, Samuel, Blackett, Gravenberch, Watson.
Referee: S Duncan.
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